Economic diversification must continue in order to avert oil dependence – Finance Minister

Winston Jordan, Guyana's Minister of Finance

Guyana’s Finance Minister, Winston Jordan has underscored the importance of continuing to diversify the economy as Guyana becomes an oil producing state to ensure that the nation does not develop a dependency on the oil sector.

Noting that oil should not become Guyana’s “new savior” , he said, “There was an economy before oil arrived and [there will be] an economy after oil arrives and we have to make certain that we continue on the diversification path of the economy and use all resources to achieve that diversification,” he said.

His comments came even as concerned observers have cautioned that Guyana should remain cognizant of the dreaded ‘Dutch disease’ and put measures in place to prevent this.

Jordan pointed out that part of the revenue the State gets from oil can be used to introduce new industries and expand existing ones to make the country increasingly self-sufficient in key sectors.

“That’s what oil revenues should be doing….helping you to diversify your economy so you can be self-sufficient and sustainable, regardless of global trends.”

Minister Jordan said that he is focused on ensuring that the 2018–2019 Budget reflects more initiatives to support the manufacturing sector in particular and Guyanese industries in general.

He explained that the APNU+AFC government is committed to the ‘Buy Local’ drive for both products and services and is exploring ways to apply stimulus in order to ensure its success.

The Minister said that he is visiting local businesses as part of his Budget consultations to get a clear understanding of the work they are doing, and also to see how Government can give them strategic support so that the entities can grow and prosper.

Jordan said his ministry and Government are also pushing a ‘buy local’ drive at this time. Government already gives local businesses first consideration in Government’s acquisition of required goods and services, Minister Jordan said.